Maitri Retreat: Working with the Wisdoms and Enemies of the Four Directions

Working with the Wisdoms and Enemies of the Four Directions: A Maitri Space Awareness Retreat with Shastri Sandra Ladley.

Program Price: $225  Space is limited. Please pre-register at

“We are free from acceptance and rejection when we begin to realize pacifying, enriching, magnetizing and destroying as the natural expression of our desire to work with the whole universe. We are free from accepting too eagerly or rejecting too violently; we are free from push and pull. In Buddhism that freedom is known as the mandala principle, in which everything is moderated by these four activities … East represents awake; south represents expansion; west represents passion or magnetizing; north represents action. That is the basic mandala principle.” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

Shastri Ladley will draw on the Shambhala and Vajrayana Buddhist teachings on the mandala of the wisdoms and enemies of the four directions to lead this retreat designed to help us recognize the resources we have as we navigate challenging times. The retreat will include talks and discussion, sitting meditation, Maitri Space Awareness practice using postures and colors, and creative play that draws on the Dharma Art teachings. A special invitation to those who attended the Maitri and Art Retreat Shastri Ladley offered in LA in 2016 — these will be new and further teachings.

Exploring these energies is a surprising and potent way to understand our heart and mind at a subtle level, the world around us, and how to act. Maitri Space Awareness practice tunes us directly into these energies (water, fire, earth, wind — and space) and helps us see how they manifest in our world and how we embody them in a sane or neurotic fashion. Over time we can learn to open up and embrace these energies with friendliness. This can help us to transform the frozen energy of self-centeredness into the flowing creativity of compassionate wisdom.

Maitri Space Awareness practice was developed by Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche to help people understand how to work with these fundamental energies of mind and reality. It has been practiced by many students at Naropa University, in Karuna Training, and in Shambhala since the 1970s. It has been used in retreat, therapeutic community and arts settings. The practice uses meditation, postures, colors, aimless walks, and creativity to investigate these energies.

Tea and coffee and a light snack will be provided in the mornings, and a hearty tea and snack in the afternoon. Lunch will be on your own or shared brown bag style in our community space. The program will include a festive dinner on Friday and a light reception to close the program on Sunday.

Who this program is for:
All are welcome to join this retreat, whether you are a beginning or advanced meditator, new or experienced in studying these teachings, extroverted or introverted, an artist or non-artist. The program will be of special interest to those interested in psychology, activism, the art of everyday life, Vajrayana Buddhism, and Maitri Space Awareness practice.

Shastri Sandra Ladley is a Senior Shambhala Buddhist teacher and long-time practitioner. She is the Program Director and a core faculty member for the Karuna Training program in Contemplative Psychology. She has an MA in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University and a BA in Creative Arts from San Francisco State University. Sandra teaches widely and leads creative, psycho-educational, and social presencing groups. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Some meditation experience is recommended. If you are new to meditation, meditation instruction is offered at Los Angeles Shambhala Centers.